Whole30 Butter Chicken Meatballs

Have you been looking for an easy recipe for butter chicken meatballs but with a dairy free twist? You’ll love this version, as an added bonus it’s paleo, Whole30, and also fits the keto diet. Since this recipe fits almost all lifestyles, it’s definitely one to have on hand!

A bowl of rice and meatballs covered in butter chicken sauce.

Butter Chicken Meatballs

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A chicken meatball with a paleo butter chicken sauce poured over and topped with some dried cilantro.

As always, I seek out chicken in my local stores that contain the Raised by a Canadian Farmer logo.

Made by a chicken farmer

If you don’t see it in store, ask for it! When you buy from a Canadian Farmer you’re choosing:

  • A healthy protein choice free of added hormones and steroids, and raised right here in Canada according to nationally-set, high food safety, and animal care
  • Chicken that has mandatory, robust, third- party-audited Animal Care Program that is administered across all Canadian chicken farms.
  • Farmers that adhere to a strict mandatory On-Farm Food Safety Program.
  • Farmers who are committed to sustainability through innovation, by preserving the health of the land.

A pan lined with parchment paper, with chicken meatballs stuffed with veggies laying on it.

Paleo Butter Chicken Meatballs

The first time I had a paleo version of butter chicken was when I cooked up the recipe from This West Coast Mommy. It’s a great recipe, and she taught me how to make my own ghee! I knew I wanted to make this recipe my own so I took the base from her recipe, some ingredient’s from Gordon Ramsay’s sauce recipe and made a Frankenstein of sorts and you know what – it works.

A pot of a healthy butter chicken sauce simmering over the stove.

Is it a legit butter chicken sauce? I have no idea. I’m not an expert in this style of cooking but here’s what I do know:

These paleo butter chicken meatballs taste delicious and they’re simple to toss together.

I never order butter chicken in restaurants so I can’t compare it, however, I’m sure it’s different since there is no butter or cream in this recipe (making it paleo and dairy free). This is a fun twist that was inspired by the popular dish.

Four chicken meatballs beside a bed of rice with a paleo butter chicken sauce poured over.

More recipes like this that I think you’ll like:

Don’t forget to check out these Whole30 lunches and Whole30 dinner ideas.

Recommended supplies:

  • Vitamix (or a high powered blender)
  • Dutch Oven
  • Ghee (or make your own)
A bowl of rice and meatballs covered in butter chicken sauce.
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4.27 from 49 votes

Butter Chicken Meatballs

This paleo butter chicken recipe is a dairy free alternative to a comforting dinner. It's an easy way to add a keto recipe to your meal plan too!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword butter chicken, chicken meatballs, paleo
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 13 meatballs
Calories 186kcal


Chicken Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/2 cup carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pinch Salt and pepper

Butter Chicken Sauce

  • 1/2 cup ghee
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsps chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp  dried cilantro
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp  ginger
  • 1/2 tsp  cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp  cayenne powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 6oz tomato paste
  • 1 14oz canned coconut milk


Chicken Meatballs

    Preheat oven to 400F

    • Add everything but the ground chicken into a high powdered blender (or food processor) and do a fast chop.
    • Add the blender contents into a bowl with the ground chicken.
    • Roll into 1 inch balls and lay on a lined baking sheet.
    • Bake for 10-15 minutes. The meatballs will not be fully cooked yet, that's okay.

    Paleo Butter Chicken Sauce

    • In a heavy bottomed stock pot heat up half the ghee over medium heat.
    • Add the onion, saute until translucent and then add the garlic and spices.
    • Turn the heat down to low-medium and add the rest of the ingredients (including the rest of the ghee).
    • Bring to a slow boil, whisking frequently.
    • Add the chicken meatballs, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes (or until meatballs are fully cooked).
    • Serve with cauliflower rice and enjoy!


    Serving: 1meatball with sauce | Calories: 186kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 7.6g | Fat: 15.7g | Saturated Fat: 10.2g | Cholesterol: 48.4mg | Sodium: 228mg | Fiber: 1.2g | Sugar: 2.4g
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    Butter Chicken Meatballs

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    31 comments on “Whole30 Butter Chicken Meatballs”

    1. What is ghee other than clarified butter? I will make this sauce as it sounds delicious & have no issue with butter

      • Hey Kathleen,

        Ghee is clarified butter but cooked a little longer and it carmalizes the milk solids. It has a bit of a rich, caramelly tasty (well I think it does) compared to butter. But if you don’t have an issue with dairy – fly at ‘er and use what you have.

    2. 4 stars
      I made this tonight and was pleasantly surprised! I have eaten butter chicken in Indian restaurants and while this doesn’t taste exactly like it, it sure is DELICIOUS! My husband loved it as well so I’ll be making it again, maybe even for dinner party 🙂
      I’ve tried a couple other of your recipes and they have also turned out great (coconut curry meatballs and cauliflower rice). Looking forward to trying more of your stuff- THANK YOU!

      • Thank you so much!!! Yes, I agree it’s not exactly butter chicken like in the restaurants but it has a similar base (without the cream). I’m so happy you like my recipes, that seriously made my day. Thank you!

    3. This looks amazing! Can you taste the carrots at all? I really hate carrots and am wondering if I could sub it out for something else. 

    4. Hi,

      Have many mls of coconut milk did you use. I bought a 400ml can but there was a smaller size so I wasn’t sure how much to use.


    5. My partner is allergic to coconut….I really want to make this, but I am also really struggling to find substitutes that are non-dairy in recipes like this. Any suggestions?

      • I haven’t personally experimented with this but I have heard people making sauce bases out of cashews. Or you could try almond milk? Thicken the sauce with some arrowroot powder or tapioca starch? I’m not sure how it will affect the taste but there are some ideas to try.

    6. This recipe looks amazing! I’m going to make tonight for dinner. I just have one question. The ingredients list says 1/4 red onion. Is this 1/4 cup of red onion or 1/4th of a red onion? Thanks so much!!! 

    7. 5 stars
      Made it last night for dinner for my husband, brother and his wife and it was awesome! I doubled the recipe, so we could have left overs. Simple to make and delicious. Thanks!! 

    8. 5 stars
      I am a huge fan of Indian food and also lived in Indian for a year so got to enjoy lots of authentic meals. I enjoy cooking this cuisine too. Now I live in a place with very poor Indian restaurants plus I’m trying to eat keto so I avoid rice and naan breads. I’m also trying to reduce my dairy intake. I made this today and it was nothing short of sensational! I didn’t intend to vary the recipe but after tasting the sauce I added more cumin, some garam masala and a squirt of Sriracha. The dish looked and tasted wonderful, an exceptional substitute for the real thing. I’ll be trying some of your other recipes now. Well done on a great creation!

    9. Ghee is a dairy product and therefore this is not a dairy free recipe

      • Hey Sarah,

        Actually those who can’t have dairy, can have ghee. It’s not “dairy free” but it is lactose free and if you’re following Whole30, it is on the approved list. 🙂

    10. 5 stars
      This was amazing! The sauce was so flavorful! I used butter in the sauce and added curry powder, dried parsley, and dried minced onion to the meatballs. The minced onion worked well in the sauce too in place of fresh onion because I didn’t have one. I served this with basmati rice, peas, and naan bread. I love chicken meatballs, cant wait to make this one again!

    11. Legit speechless, that whole30 butter chicken meatballs recipe looks unreal! Definitely, I will make it on the weekend for my family.

    12. Oh nooooo you are missing an important ingredient…… Kasuri Mehti/Fenugreek Leaves, these have a very unique smell that absolutely complements the dish.

    13. This recipe looks delicious! However I am confused about the serving size. Are these meatballs large? Because it says one serving is only one meatball and that seems like such a small amount.

      • Hey Jordan, Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

        So what I did for this recipe is I made the nutritional information per 1 meatball. That way people can have as many as they would like for their own goals. The problem with the calorie calculator is it takes in the whole sauce (which there is always some left behind so it’s not 100% accurate in that respect).

        1/13th of the recipe is the calorie information listed.

    14. 5 stars
      Just made this tonight for my family and it was a hit! Everyone loved it and said they can’t wait for me to make it again. The flavors of the meatballs and sauce were perfect. Thanks for the amazing recipe!!!

    15. Can this be frozen?

    16. 5 stars
      This was a huge hit with my fam! My husband is Indian but doesn’t always have time to spend hours making Indian food. My father-in-law is visiting and made sure to tell me he really liked dinner tonight! The flavor was amazing… and I’m always stoked when all of my kids love a recipe!  

    17. 5 stars
      I added some spices to the meatballs, my daughter and I love it!

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